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Why Should You Board-up After a Fire?

Across the globe, across communities, across cultures, everyone shares a common fear: fire.

Nowhere is this truer than in the home. Your sanctuary, your retreat from the world, should feel safe and secure at all times – and a house fire can shatter that illusion within moments.

In 2015, over 501,000 of the 1m+ fires reported across the USA were structure fires. These caused more than 2,600 deaths, and cost over $10.3bn in damage.

Many of us take precautions to secure our homes and loved ones against the threat of fire. We install smoke alarms, we keep fire extinguishers in our kitchens, and we may even come up with an ‘escape plan’ so every member of the family knows exactly what to do in the event of a fire.

However, as the above figures show, house fires remain sadly common. If your property is damaged by flames, the damage can be absolutely devastating – physically and emotionally.


Items with immense sentimental value may be lost. Months and even years of hard work around the home, making it unique, can be undone in mere seconds.

In many cases, though, homes can be saved and restored with a lot of hard work, but before that, you’ll need to find somewhere else to stay. It’s vital that you board your home up after a fire – but why?

Protection from the Elements

One key reason to board up your windows and doorways is to keep the weather outside, where it belongs.
Flames can completely destroy doors and windows, leaving your interiors (smoke-damaged and ruined as they may be) vulnerable to the elements. Rain, wind, sleet, hail, and more can easily get inside, exacerbating the disrepair.
This will only make the clean-up and restoration process even more difficult and time-consuming, particularly if left for weeks. Be sure to cover up every single access point, including any structural damage that may have resulted from the fire.
A thorough inspection can identify potential flaws needing reinforcement.

Deterring Burglars or Vandals

Nobody likes to consider the possibility that your home may be burglarized or vandalized at any time – not least after a fire.
There’s something particularly heartbreaking about the prospect of criminals or vandals taking advantage of your misfortune, rooting through your damaged property for anything they could make a profit from or destroy for their own amusement.
Sadly, it does happen.
Boarding your property up after a fire will make it far, far harder for thieves or vandals to gain access. Not only would they physically need to remove the boards – which would likely require tools – but doing so would attract more attention than if they simply slipped in through an open window or doorway.
It’s important to bear in mind that any security systems you had in place – alarms, sensors, lights, would be extremely unlikely to continue working after a major fire. You can’t rely on them in place of boarding your property up.

Preventing Animals Gaining Access

Another reason for boarding your property up after a fire is to prevent local wildlife from getting inside. Neighborhood cats, dogs, birds, and other animals may all see a fire-damaged home as a place to find shelter or search for food.

It goes without saying that they may cause more damage and delay the restoration process.

Other Precautions to Take

As well as boarding up windows and doors, there are a number of other precautions to take to minimize the risks of further damage.

First and foremost, examine locking systems on any doors left standing. Is the lock still in working condition? Does it appear likely to break when used, or does it seem able to perform its proper function?

If you have a working lock on any doors, be sure to use it. However, you may want to board the doorway up anyway, for added peace of mind.

Another step is to search for any valuables that may remain in the home and survived the flame with minimal damage. As mentioned above, morally-bankrupt individuals may see your damaged property as ‘easy pickings’ – no working security alarm, nobody home etc. – but if you leave salable goods available, you’ll only be making their task easier.

If your property is deemed unsafe to enter, you’ll obviously be unable to search for valuables yourself, but if you are given the all-clear, do this immediately. Remove objects which you think others might not even see as worth taking – such as electronic items – as internal components may still be worth something beneath superficial damage.

If you’re staying at a hotel or with a friend, you may be unable to keep many valuables with you, especially if you’ve managed to secure a lot of them. Consider asking friends and / or family if they would be willing to store them for you, just until your home is restored, or look into hiring a storage unit. This may mean a little extra expense, but can save you more money and heartache in the long run (especially for items with sentimental value).

Boarding up your home after a fire can be a time-consuming task, but it’s well worth doing. This will ensure your property stays in its ‘purest’ post-fire state, and allow the specialists you hire to restore your home to work without having to contend with weather-damage, vandalism, or any other extraneous damage.

Fire-damaged homes are usually boarded with plywood, but other woods may be used. However, depending on the number of windows, doors, or structural holes to be covered, the cost of this wood may mount up quickly.

At 911 Remediation, we’re an experienced team dedicated to the very best fire and smoke damage restoration services. We perform immediate board-up services to reinforce your home against the above risks, and we’ll also inspect and evaluate all contents and structural damage, remove acidic smoke & soot, and restore your property.

Want to know more about how we can board up your property and tackle the damage caused by smoke and fire? Call us on (510) 275-3708 now.